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  • US defence contractor accused of passing on nuclear secrets

    Ex-army officer Benjamin Pierce Bishop charged with communicating national defence information to Chinese woman

    Benjamin Pierce Bishop, who works for a defence contractor at US Pacific Command in Oahu, Hawaii, was arrested on Friday . Photograph: Alamy

    A US defence contractor in Hawaii has been arrested on charges of passing national military secrets, including classified information about nuclear weapons, to a Chinese woman with whom he was romantically involved, authorities have said.

    Benjamin Pierce Bishop, 59, a former US army officer who works as a civilian employee of a defence contractor at US Pacific Command in Oahu, was arrested on Friday and made his first appearance in federal court on Monday, said the US attorney’s office for the District of Hawaii.

    He is charged with one count of willfully communicating national defence information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining documents related to national defence. If convicted Bishop faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

    Bishop met the woman – a 27-year-old Chinese national referred to as Person 1 – in Hawaii during a conference on international military defence issues, according to the affidavit.

    He had allegedly been involved in a romantic relationship since June 2011 with the woman, who was living in the US on a visa and had no security clearance.

    From May 2011 until December 2012 he allegedly passed national defence secrets to her including classified information about nuclear weapons and the planned deployment of US strategic nuclear systems.

    Reuters
    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 19 March 2013 07.13 GMT

    Find this story at 19 March 2013

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